Lessons and activities encourage critical viewing of newspapers and evaluation of the sexual messages being conveyed. Themes include: news vs. opinion, features on teen pregnancy, reporting on hate crimes.
Feature Article: Focus On Teen Parent
To explore how humanizing important issues can help reach an audience, participants write two different feature articles about a teen parent in the community that use the same facts, but tell different stories.
What Makes a Good News Story?
After identifying the basic components of a good news story, participants flip through a local newspaper for examples that contain two or more of the criteria.
After reading a sample advice column, youth write a letter asking for advice on an issue such as teen sexuality or teen pregnancy. They exchange letters and then act as the advice columnist, writing a response.
Sex Sells? For Newspapers, If It Bleeds, It Leads
Youth examine the contrast between coverage of violence and that of sex/health issues by comparing the content of different local newspapers.
After reviewing the characteristics of feature stories, participants read a sample feature article and analyze its content and style. Particular attention is paid to the presentation of facts vs. the assertion of personal opinion.
By examining examples of local free newspapers, from ads to articles, participants discuss how free press offers commentary on subjects downplayed or overlooked by newspapers owned by major media corporations.
Hard News Stories
After identifying key components of hard news articles, youth read a sample article and analyze its style and content. Particular attention is paid to the story’s lead, headline, and structure.
You’ve Made the Front Page!
Youth examine the design and layout of a local newspaper’s front page, then create their own front page using scissors, glue, and an article about the impact of HIV/AIDS on young people.
Meet The Press
Participants arrange for a speaker from the local press to speak with them about the newspaper business. Emphasis is placed on making contacts with media professionals for delivering a youth message to the public.
Comparing Articles: Objectivity in the News
Participants select and compare two news articles on the same topic to explore how the reporter’s angle not only affects the subject matter of the piece, but also the style, tone, level of detail, and organization.
Participants consider ways in which viewpoints can be expressed in an editorial by defining the characteristics of OP-ED stories, analyzing a sample piece, then writing an editorial to reflect their personal opinions regarding sex in the media.
Opinion or News?
By examining they ways in which the same topic is treated in many newspapers, participants analyze and evaluate the presentation of factual information versus opinion in the press.
Take Out the Ads and What Do You Find?
By literally cutting out the advertising sections of a local paper, youth estimate how much of the newspaper is actually news, and how much is marketing.
Writing Your Own Feature
After brainstorming possible topics for a feature article that would highlight the efforts of their Teen Aware media campaign, participants select a newspaper and write a feature article for publication.